As the world gets smaller and communication links improve the ability to source TFT LCD and touch screen products directly through Far Eastern sources has become easier with emails daily offering deals which seem impossible to refuse.
However, as an example, a sensible consumer would not buy a branded watch from a market stall. They would want to be sure that the watch they were buying was genuine and correct for their needs. They would want the confidence it was not a substandard production line reject and to know that if there was a quality issue with it they could go back for support. It is important that the product was the latest technology rather than some older product which was tired and at the end of its life.
Similar features are required when looking for a quality industrial TFT LCD supplier. When purchasing TFT LCD’s there are many factors in the choice, this naturally includes price, but it is important to consider some of the overall cost of ownership.
The leading industrial TFT manufacturer’s generally have regional distribution partners to support their industrial panels which offers a number of advantages:
When manufacturing a TFT, there will always be an acceptable quality level to meet, and those that meet this are known as A grade products. Anything that does not meet these standards will be classified at different lower quality levels, this could be due to an unacceptable number of dead / bright pixels, dry joints etc. These panels are not scrapped, but often sold cheaply or auctioned off into local FE markets to be used into low end unbranded consumer products. Unfortunately local FE dealers will often manage to source these at very low pricing and target the European markets where profits are higher. Sometimes even reputable display specialists will source these lower grade displays at a commercially attractive price, but you will only be able to guarantee the source and quality when buying through an official distributor.
Continuity of Supply
The major manufacturers will have hundreds of products in their portfolio, but will only support a small fraction of industrial panels through distribution. This is due to the level of support required and control of the longevity of supply. A distribution partner will have direct dialogue with the manufacturer, access to roadmaps and will be able to direct the initial design to stable product and pre-warn at the earliest point of possible issues in delivery or potential EOL scenarios. Certain markets including medical and military have a stringent approval process and any changes can be expensive and time consuming, so continuity of supply is critical.
The end manufacturers need to keep stock low and short lead times have never been so important. To achieve this it is critical to purchase through supply partners who are able to be flexible with stock holding to meet these two factors. Some TFT LCD’s suppliers have notoriously long leadtimes going out to 20 weeks. Unfortunately these tend to be the suppliers who offer more premium displays, with the strongest continuity statements. It is therefore important that a chosen supplier has the financial ability, flexibility and spread of customers to support the brief.
TFT LCD’s are normally a small part of the design and any true display specialist will have support products including touchscreens, cables, AD interface embedded boards and services such as optical bonding of touch screens in a clean room environment, bespoke touchscreen design, and kitting.
Buying through the grey market can reward with some attractive ‘front end’ pricing, however it is also important to look at the complete picture taking into consideration all the different factors mentioned above, it is only then that the end customer will see the true cost of ownership without concerns of quality or support issues. Dealing with an authorised or franchised reseller will give the confidence that the absolute best commercial pricing is being achieved but also give full peace of mind into the future.
For further information on Display Technology products and solutions, please contact us on +44(0)1480 411600, email info@displaytechnology or visit www.displaytechnology.co.uk
About Display Technology
Display Technology Ltd specialises in TFT-LCD flat panel technologies. We offer a huge selection of TFT-LCD monitors and touch screens, as well as associated support components including in house designed AD boards, a full range of embedded computing, power supplies and single board computers to offer a single source of supply / contact.
Working with a wide range of technology specialists, not limited to but including AUO, Ortustech, Ampire, Innolux, Tianma, AbonTouch and Zytronic. This ensures we can deliver high quality products, solutions and services. Our services include optical bonding and touch screen fitting, which takes place at our inhouse facilities at our head office.
We are proud to be part of the global FORTEC Data Display Group whose experience is in state-of-the-art TFT technologies and system solutions, Display Technology will support all project phases - from simple supply, bespoke design, construction of the metal housing and procurement of specific parts to in-house development of TFT controller boards and touchscreen integration.